It took nearly 10 years to get John Updike's novel to the screen and it would have been better had they waited another 10, or maybe even 50. This is such a spotty picture--with scenes that waver from excellent to dismal--that it is never clear who should be congratulated or who condemned.
Director Smight was so enraged when producer-writer Kreitsek recut the movie that he tried unsuccessfully to have his name removed from the credits. Caan is married to alcoholic Snodgress, who is carrying a child neither of them wants. Why she drinks is never explained, but being married to Caan
is probably reason enough, since he is unskilled, never attended college, and lives in the memory of the day when he scored 28 points in the Big Game for Reading, Pennsylvania, High School. (This territory would be mined with greater effectiveness in Jason Miller's THAT CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON.) Caan
and Snodgress have a quarrel, and he exits to visit with Albertson, his basketball coach, a man now living on the edge of poverty. Albertson's solution for Caan's dissatisfaction is to introduce him to semi-pro hooker Comer. Caan moves in with Comer, then the family Episcopalian minister, Hill,
tries to effect a reconciliation between Caan and Snodgress. Caan wants no part of it, but Hill thinks a job might change his mind, so he arranges employment for Caan with Mathews. Caan eventually leaves Comer and returns to Snodgress when she gives birth. He stops running around and she ceases
drinking, but their peace doesn't last long because she begins to deny him sex. Arguments follow and he leaves. Snodgress reaches for the bottle and "accidentally" drowns their infant in the bath. Although he returns home, everyone (including his only ally, Albertson, who has suffered a stroke)
blames Caan for the tragedy. With one baby buried, Caan goes to see Comer, who is now pregnant with his child, but she won't talk to him unless he agrees to divorce Snodgress and make an honest woman of her. Caan says he will, but the next time he leaves Comer's apartment, ostensibly to go to the
grocery, he takes off. Caan gives an assured but undistinguished performance; however, Comer is dandy and Snodgress (who was to score in DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE, which was made after this film but preceded it into the theaters) is wholly convincing. Foul language, explicit sex, and a lack of a
consistent point of view make this a loser on most counts. Two songs: "Anything Happening?" (Ray Burton, Brian King, M.K. Gregory) and "Gonna Love Me" (Burton, G.K. Michael, sung by Inner Sense).
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- Rating: R
- Review: It took nearly 10 years to get John Updike's novel to the screen and it would have been better had they waited another 10, or maybe even 50. This is such a spotty picture--with scenes that waver from excellent to dismal--that it is never clear who should b… (more)